US Embassy in Algiers receives terror alert

Embassy employees ordered to tightly restrict their movements and other Americans in Algeria urged to so the same.

Algiers bomb 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Algiers bomb 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The US Embassy in Algiers ordered its employees to tightly restrict their movements and urged other Americans in Algeria to do the same, citing indications of possible terrorist attacks. Security concerns have been high in the Algerian capital since Dec. 11 suicide bombings targeted UN offices and a government building, killing at least 37 people, including 17 UN employees. An Algeria-based al-Qaida affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack. "In response to continuing indications of possible terrorist attacks in Algiers, the Embassy has instructed its employees to avoid nonessential movement around the city until further notice, and may occasionally restrict movement completely," the embassy said in a message Friday. The message also "strongly encouraged" American citizens in Algeria to avoid restaurants, nightclubs, churches and schools frequented by foreigners. The note was sent to embassy employees and Americans registered with consular authorities. The SITE terrorism monitoring group reported earlier Friday that methods to attack the American Embassy in Algiers and its ambassador had been posted on an Internet forum affiliated with al-Qaida on Thursday. SITE provides counter-terrorism information to government and private groups. Embassy and US State Department officials would not comment on the reason for the warning. The December bombings in Algiers were the deadliest in a string of recent attacks blamed on al-Qaida in Islamic North Africa, the successor to an Algerian Islamist movement known as the Salafist Group for Call and Combat. The group was the last serious force in an insurgency that broke out in 1992 when the Algerian army canceled elections that an Islamist party was set to win. As many as 200,000 people were killed in the ensuing violence. Major skirmishes died down after the 1990s, but the past year has seen a resurgence of attacks.